Blessedness, a glimpse of Heaven in the here and now!
We all want to be happy! If we didn’t want to be happy, I think that it would not take long before we would be in the grave! Advertising is an interesting bait for us to be hooked on to some form of happiness. The commercial world teases us with happiness of so called passing joys!
Look at all the After Christmas and New Year Sales! They are generally offering 50 -70% of the usual price! Immediately, there is something enticing about that, so we look at stuff that we don’t really need, or we try to convince ourselves that we really do need it, and look at the price! We could by two!!!!! But we can only use one at a time……. Lots of the mark up prices are not as good as it seems, especially if the price was marked up before they give the discount price. We all generally get teased by bargains! But look what happens…you buy that lovely Merino wool Jumper or Cardigan, and when you get home you see two more in the wardrobe that you have not used yet!!!!! Passing joys are momentary; they are fleeting, they don’t last long! We all deeply long for joys that will last!
The next kind of joy which lasts longer, is the joy which we receive and give with people, especially our family members, young and old. Notwithstanding some rifts and difficulties that generally take place in most families, there is always the joy of reconciliation. Over the years I have seen people on the death bed, waiting for a joy to be fulfilled as they long for a member of the family or special friend to visit them and even give their loved one permission to die. These are joys that last. These joys have very little to do with material things, but a lot to do within the loving interaction with people; we call these spiritual things. Unconditional love and loving outreach to strangers are joys that last and sit in a comfy spot in our hearts.
Just last week in Melbourne, a mentally ill person drove his car recklessly in the city streets and then drove down a shopping Mall and killed and injured many people! The uninjured people immediately came to the rescue of these frightened and injured people….absolute strangers did CPR on wounded people and cared for them like their own. In times like this, some of the deepest human/spiritual values immediately swing into action as a sign that we all belong together and know how to feel other people’s pain and loss. So often, we need a disaster natural or otherwise for such lasting values and blessedness to be seen worldwide on Television. However, we know that by and large, Good News does not sell, nor boost broadcasting ratings; but the lasting works of joy and blessedness are happening all the time by many of the ‘quiet achievers’ in this world.
Today here in Australia, we celebrate Australia Day! This celebration had its origins in the British coming to this land and taking possession of it, without any consultation with the local people who had been living here for at least 40,000 years! That act of taking possession was not an act of blessedness, but it was part of Imperialism which was taking place in the world at that time and well before that time. If the British had not hoisted their Flag in Sydney, the French would have done it the next day! The Blessedness of Australia Day is to be keenly aware that all our ancestors emigrated here, and are still coming! Australia Day can’t turn back the clock, but it can refine our outstanding of who we are as a people. Australia Day honours our first peoples, and celebrates our diversity within one nation. This is a joy that needs continual attention by all of us; it is a joy and a time of blessedness to move on together!
In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus portrayed by Matthew and his Gospel community as the new Moses, proclaiming the new law/mission statement for the era that Jesus was initiating. The Sermon on the Mount, speaks about how happy are they who………do this or do that and truly become a living Beatitude. All the attributes which are happy or Blessed are not about worldly ambition nor are they the fuel for Imperial advances upon others! The Beatitudes contain the inner fabric which forms people into people of God’s Kingdom. In the living out of these Beatitudes we are on the right track to experience the ‘thin’ moments when Heaven comes to Earth as we pray in The Lord’s Prayer. The Beatitudes are the Menu or the charter for the Christian life.
Well, what can we do with the Beatitudes? How can we do a ‘check’ on our personal lives to see if we are ‘in tune’ with the spirit and meaning of the Beatitudes? My suggestion is to take one Beatitude each week, and spend some time deeply reflecting on its meaning then to ask ourselves, how does it call me to CHANGE my personal flavour of living the Christian life? Give it a go, and see how your life can be modified, refined and in tune with the mind of Christ. Beware! It demands self-discipline, it can be very challenging and hard, but it leaders us to eternal blessedness.
LET US PRAY:
From the days of Abraham and Moses
Until this gathering of your Church in prayer,
You have formed a people in the image of your Son.
Bless this people with the gift of your kingdom.
May we serve you with our every desire
And show love for one another
Even as you have loved us.
Fr Kevin Walsh
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